The blog of Tokyo based photographer and photojournalist, Damon Coulter


Japan is not a happy country, the experiment with real democracy looks like it has failed with a disappointingly weak Prime Minister in Yukio Hatoyama; the economy is slowly improving but the massive debt means people do not trust it and thus cannot enjoy themselves. The population is aging, the birthrate is falling, the need for immigration is pressing and yet the idea is terrifying to most Japanese; the work hours are even longer, the salaries smaller, the pressures to be all things to all people are mounting; and to top it all the Japan football team is destined to crash ignobly out of the preliminary round of the World Cup in global humiliation.

Japan are winning at table tennis though so I expect a boom in that sport’s popularity for a while.

Basically not a lot of smiles here at the moment.

In a recent survey by the cabinet office, where people in Japan were asked to rate their “degree of happiness” on an 11-point scale, the average score was 6.5 which is not great but is actually up from 6.3 ten years before in 1999.

I had a few free hours in Shibuya yesterday to shoot and must admit I didn’t see much happiness. True it was a grey day, threatening rain, but even in oh so bright and energetic Shibuya there was just image after image of unhappiness like the vulture politics, private angst, public laments and sad reminders of life’s unfairness to those we seldom think enough about. See if you can guess which picture is which above.

Pretty easy no?

Myself, well I’m tired and very busy (so excuse the lack of links in this post as I have no time to look them up) anyways, this post not withstanding, I am overall pretty happy.

Thanks for asking.



One response

  1. Andy

    Apart from the table tennis your first paragraph is a pretty accurate piture of the UK. Love the 2nd pic

    May 27, 2010 at 3:55 pm

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